A Tale of Stained Hands
Once there was a girl. One day, she sinned. But it was only a little sin. Yet, she noticed that after she sinned, she ended up with a drop of red that stained the skin of her hands.
The next time she sinned, another small drop of red stained her skin. And another. And another. Until her sins, though each one might be considered “small,” left her with huge blotches of red on her hands. At first, she wished the dark spots away in her mind. She pretended not to see them. When she would notice them out of the corner of her eye, she would tell herself that they weren’t there. They were a figment of her imagination and that, in better lighting, they wouldn’t even be noticeable. When they were covered with too much red to ignore, she hid them. Gloves, henna, fingernail polish. Anything she could do to beautify her hands and take her mind away from the red spots that stained them.
But gloves were too hot. Henna faded. Nail polish only drew attention to the rest of her hands. And she began to be ashamed of her red hands. She washed them. She tried bleach. She tried homemade remedies. She tried specialists and medicines. But no matter how much she tried, she could not take the stains away.
While she once held to the hope that she was good, she was now crushed by the overwhelming evidence that she was sinful. She was in bondage. And nothing she could do would make her less sinful. Nothing she could do would make her free. Like Lady Macbeth, she scrubbed her hands incessantly, trying to force the stains away, but to no avail.
One day, she heard an old, old story.
A man came to earth.
He was God.
He was man.
And there were whispers that if one followed him, he could make crimson stains as white as snow.
As she heard this story, her heart leapt with hope. But as quickly as hope sprang up, fear and shame swallowed that hope. She stared at her hands. This man, what would he think of her? How could she go to him like this?
No, she would not go. She could not go. And so, she continued to try to wash away the red splotches by herself. But every day, she heard echoes of that old, old story.
One day, she could stand it no longer. She gathered her courage and set out to meet the man. As she approached him, she put on her best gloves and hid her hands behind her back. When she came near to him, she was startled to hear him utter her name.
“Why have you come?” he asked.
Her heart failed within her. But as she looked at him, she saw compassion and she responded, “I have travelled to find you because I am told that you can take away my stains.”
His eyes smiled as he said, “Show me your stains.”
She shook her head. “I’m ashamed. Can’t you just give me the remedy? I don’t want you to see me like this.”
He responded, “I can only wash away your stains if you show them to me.”
Slowly, she drew her hands from behind her back. She pulled her gloves off gingerly and held her hands in tight fists. Yet, as she looked at the man, she felt peace and she steadily opened her hands.
He did not gasp. He was not shocked. But he lovingly took her hands and washed them. And drop by drop, the ugly red stains melted away. Tears welled in her eyes as she looked at her clean skin. She glanced at the man and asked what she needed to do now.
“Come, follow me,” he replied.
And so she did…joyfully.
I am this girl. You are this girl. So the next time you find your hands stained, remember that it does no good to hide or ignore your sins. Instead, take them to Jesus. Confess them to him. And he, who makes all things new, will take away your stains and your guilt. (If you even need a reminder, check out Psalm 51!) The stains that you could never wash away, he makes as white as snow.